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You don’t have to go on vacation to get sun-kissed skin—just a couple swipes of bronzer will do the trick. And while that may sound easy enough, we know that finding the right bronzer for your skin tone and price point can be difficult. That’s why we’ve compiled the best drugstore bronzers ranging from light to dark and everything in between. Oh, and did we mention they are all under $25?
Looking for a matte finish to deepen your existing tan? Or is a shimmery powder more what you’re after? Whatever your preference—a full-on tan or just a bit of a glow—these drugstore bronzers will instantly transform dull skin into a luminous I-just-got-back-from-vacation complexion. Simply brush a bit on your cheeks, forehead, and the bridge of your nose, et voilà.
Read on for our picks of the best drugstore bronzers.
Best Overall: Rimmel Natural Bronzer
This warm-toned bronzer is a drugstore staple, full stop. Wear semi-sheer for everyday use or layer it on for a deeply bronzed effect. The powder's formula also claims to be waterproof with a wear of up to 10 hours, which are just a few of the reasons why we love it so.
Runner-Up, Best Overall: CoverGirl TruBlend Minerals Bronzer
A blend of micro-fine pigments, this golden brown bronzer from Covergirl adds radiance to the skin thanks to a subtle dose of shimmer.
Best Matte: NYX Professional Makeup Matte Bronzer
With five different shades, all perfectly mixed to mimic a real tan, NYX Professional Makeup's matte bronzer gives off a realistic glow.
Best Value: Maybelline New York City Bronzer Powder Makeup
Formulated with finely milled pigments and whipped cocoa butter, this bronzer has a super soft matte finish that makes it look (and feel!) much more expensive than it actually is. Plus, it doubles as a contour powder, so the possibilities for elevating your look are endless.
Best Streak-Free: Milani Baked Bronzer
We're already big fans of Milani's highlighter here at Byrdie, so it's no surprise that this bronzer delivers a similar lit-from-within glow. Baked on Italian terracotta tiles, it comes in three shades and goes on streak-free for a warm, natural finish.
Best for Fair Skin: Wet n Wild Color Icon Bronzer
This cool-toned bronzer may be great for fair skin tones who are afraid of looking orange. Just make sure not to drop the product (it will lift out of the pan), but at this price point, it's a total steal.
Best for Deep Skin: Physician’s Formula Murmuru Butter Bronzer
A beauty-editor favorite, the cushiony creamy texture of this bronzer makes it super blendable, allowing for a lovely natural finish. Plus, it smells delicious.
Best With Brush: Pixi Beauty Beauty Bronzer + Kabuki
Pixi's bronzer in the color Summertime is a great drugstore option for those with fair to light skin. However, we recommend applying said bronzer with a light hand, as a little goes a long way.
Best Cream: W3LL PEOPLE Bio Bronzer Cream Stick
If you're looking for a bronzer that will last from morning till night, try a cream bronzer like W3ll People's stick. Not only does this bronzer claim to have major staying power, but it also blends in for a realistic, sun-kissed finish.
Best Shimmer: L'Oréal Paris True Match Lumi Bronze It Bronzer
For a sun-kissed glow ASAP, snag this bronzer from L'Oreal, which has a slight shimmer that never looks unnatural or overwhelming. Plus, it's formulated in three shades for light, medium, and deep skin tones.
Best Quad: e.l.f. Cosmetics Bronzer
Create a natural glow with this 4-in-1 bronzer compact that is neither dark nor light. Simply add to your face's high points for a glow befitting vacation.
Best Trio: Iman Cosmetics Sheer Finish Bronzing Powder
This sheer bronzing powder offers a buildable natural glow to go from low key to look at me with a few sweeps of your brush. The highly pigmented trio of powders works great as a blush or eyeshadow, and the gold pigment doubles nicely as a highlighter. Users love it for the luminosity and noticeable glow.
What To Look For in a Drugstore Bronzer
Make sure you choose a bronzer shade that works well with your skin tone to avoid looking orange or creating any harsh lines. Opt to find a bronzer shade that mimics your skin tone when you're tan—and try to make sure it's not too dark or too light. Make sure you check the undertones of the bronzer as well as this can be crucial in finding the right one.
Do you tend to go for powder formulas or cream? Take what texture you love using into consideration before purchasing. Generally, creams tend to give off a more dewy finish whereas powders are more matte. Both yield the same result, but give off different appearances.
What is the use of bronzer?
Bronzer is typically used to help our skin look sun-kissed or tan. Depending on the shade, it may also be used to contour.
Can you use bronzer to contour?
If it's applied correctly, bronzer can be used as a contour. Rather than swiping the bronzer all over, hone in on specific areas (like beneath your cheekbones, around your jawlines, and your nose) with an angled brush to contour.
What brush should you use for bronzer?
Before you purchase a bronzer brush, take a moment to consider what you plan to use the bronzer for. For an all-over glow, use a fluffy powder brush to make sure you get even bronzer coverage—without any harsh lines or streakiness. If you're looking to use your bronzer to contour, opt for an angled brush.